Nathan Draper took a fine win at the Hatherleigh Junior Road Race, round seven of the British Cycling Junior Road Race series, in Devon.
With none of the Series leaders featuring at the head of the race, Draper added to his win at CiCLE Classic earlier in the series to move the RST Racing Team rider closer to the top of the overall standings.
A tough 60-mile circuit around the West Devon countryside proved to be one of the hardest circuits on the Series with heavy roads strewn with potholes and sharp grippy climbs which saw a number of crashes and abandonments over the two laps.
The opening half lap saw much of the large field stick together with no attacks able to stay away for any length of time. The narrow pot-holed lane towards Germansweek was to be a challenge for a few riders with crashes and punctures being the story of the opening miles.
As the race crossed the Roadford Lake Dam, Marcus Burnett (Corley Cycles-Drops) and Lawrence Kirby(Catford CC Banks) took the initiative and jumped clear, but the peloton were quick to respond and only allowed them a short time away.
At the end of the first lap another attack tried their luck, Jack Billyard (RP Racing Team), Elliot Redfern (Giant -Halo Films) and Adam Hartley (VCUK PH-MAS) managed to get a useful-looking gap and worked well to stay away, increasing their lead as the road ramped up across the finish area and out towards Boasley Cross.
The trio hit the tough 16 per cent climb just over a minute clear of the chasing bunch and further increased that gap to a little over 90 seconds at the top of the climb, the main field not looking to bring the time down. But as the road descended back towards Germansweek and the final half lap the gap started to fall and the three were brought back.
With a little over six kilometres to go Jack Mattock (Giant-Halo Films) went for a long run in to the finish. He was joined by Draper as the five-kilometre to go sign appeared, and they managed to hold off the bunch who were now lined out.
A group of ten including Cameron Biddle (Solihull CC), Harrison Jones (Pedal Heaven), Matt Clements (Catford CC Banks) and Jack Mattock organised themselves and started the chase, but as the road climbed to the finish line with the main field breathing down their necks, Draper held his line and took the flag from a chasing field.
“I didn’t find it an easy ride at all, my health isn’t 100 per cent at the minute,” said Draper. “I’ve had a heavy cold recently and think I’m still suffering with that.
“I was on my own today, my team mates Joey [Walker] is at the track championships and Joe [Fry] picked up an injury, so it was about boxing clever and it worked out pretty well in the end.
“Only having two laps to race is never easy, you have to use the first lap as a sighting lap. A few corners were a bit slippy and there were a lot of potholes on the back of the course which you had to avoid but there were a couple of punchy climbs towards the finish that helped me.”
1. Nathan Draper (RST Racing Team) 60 miles in 2:25.10
2. Louis Modell ( Catford CC Banks) at 3sec
3. Rob Scott (VCUK PH-MAS) at 5sec
4. Jack Mattock (Giant CC - Halo Films)
5. Cameron Biddle (Solihull CC) all same time
6. Oliver Peckover (Sherwood Pines SRAM) at 7sec
7. Charlie McFadzean (Cycle Sport Dynamo) at 9sec
8. Harrison Jones (Pedal Heaven)
9. Jack Billyard (RP Racing Team)
10. Ralf Hodgson (VCUK PH-MAS) all st